Improve Your Novel with These 12 Top Writing Resources
here are many great writing resources on the web, but the best resources I’ve found are the ones on my
own bookshelf. The extensive stack of writing books that I have collected over the years have taught me
how to write a novel, how to build characters, improve scenes, write dialogue – you name it – most
everything that I’ve learned about writing has come from the treasures on my bookshelf.
Of course, there are several writing books on that said shelf that I probably could’ve used as kindle for
my fall campfires, but the majority of these books are like gold to me. I refer to the books when I’m
writing an article about writing as well as when I’m writing my own fiction. I’ve taken the best of each
book, combined some of their ideas, and come up with techniques that have helped me enormously.
Many tips that I offer readers have come from these books.
I want to share these resources with you. Not so surprising is that many of these books are “Writer’s
Digest” books. For many years, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and loved their selection of books,
gobbling up everything from books for mystery writers like Cause of Death – a Writer’s Guide to Death,
Murder and Forensic Medicine by Keith D. Wilson, M.D. to the many on the basic elements of fiction
writing. I have other favorites as well, and I hope that they will help you to improve your craft and get
that novel written!
Great Novel Writing Resources – Writer’s Digest Books
The books listed here are great books to help you understand the novel writing process and
develop the best techniques in all the major elements of fiction: Plot, Character, Dialogue,
Setting, Description, and beyond.
1. Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction by Robyn Carr
Very useful tips that chart the process of writing the popular genre novel – mystery, science
fiction, romance, fantasy, a techno-thriller, etc.
2. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall (Literary Agent and Author)
A 16-step program guaranteed to take you from idea to completed manuscript.
3. 20 Master Plots (and How to Build Them) by Ronald B. Tobias
How to develop a plot that integrates all elements of a story. Discusses and analyzes 20 different
4. Plot by Ansen Dibell
How to build short stories and novels that don’t sag, fizzle, or trail off in scraps of frustrated
revision – and how to rescue stories that do.
5. Description by Monica Wood
How to engage readers and keep stories moving by creating vivid, believable depictions of
people, places, events and actions.
6. Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
How to make characters show who they are by the things they do and say, develop characters
readers will love or love to hate, develop major characters, and choose the most effective
viewpoint(s) to tell the story.
7. Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella
How to create memorable voices and fictional conversations that crackle with wit, tension and
8. Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon
How to create characters who think, hope, love, cry, cause or feel pain, save the day – and seize
readers by the emotions.
9. Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
How to write compelling fresh approaches – creative images, words and gestures – that express
your character’s true feelings and evoke emotion in your novel.
10. Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress
How to get your stories off to a roaring start, keep them tight and crisp throughout, and end them
with a wallop.
11. Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble
How to set the state with techniques and devices that enhance drama, introduce suspense from
the very beginning of your novel, build suspense throughout, and bring that conflict, action and
suspense to a gripping conclusion.
12. Revision by David Michael Kaplan
How to rewrite your novel to tighter plots, deeper characters, stronger dialogue, more evocative
description – and ultimately better, more fully realized fiction.
You can finish reading this article on our website about writing resources.